An idea wasted

It is a pity that former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura never learned that there are times when dialing the rhetoric back a notch actually accomplishes more. As Minnesota’s chief executive, Ventura’s good ideas were often lost amidst the noise of the governor’s outsized personality. Now long removed from office, Ventura is still sabotaging his own good points with an excess of angry words. That is unfortunate, because Ventura was on to something last week.

Upset by the way federal security screeners treat him at airports (Ventura has a metal hip that sets off detectors), the ex-governor had sued the federal government to try to force changes in the way airport screenings are conducted. The suit was dismissed last week, prompting a tirade from Ventura, who among other things said he would never fly again on a commercial airline and that he might run for president. Almost lost among the hyperbole was Ventura’s most salient point, speaking about 9/11: “(President) George Bush said we were attacked because they were jealous of our freedoms. So we take away our freedoms so they won’t be jealous anymore? I think they’re winning.”

In saying that, Ventura put his finger squarely on what is wrong with an inflated federal security apparatus that feeds Americans’ fears about safety. It’s too bad that, once again, his good idea won’t get the respect it deserves.

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